EVERYTHING ONE IN THE DISC OF THE SUN
THE ROYAL OSIRIS KARAOKE ENSEMBLE / SEAN MCELROY & TEI BLOW
The Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble (ROKE) is a performance group presenting the works of self-help gurus, corporate speakers, cult leaders and mediums/extraterrestrial channels through the forms of karaoke and recitative radio performances. Our source material is culled from eBay VHS auctions, flea markets and file-sharing services.
A typical performance features our group performing within a color-changing three-dimensional LED pyramid inscribed in the performance space. We sing, dance, speak and perform a randomized selection of popular culture “hits” via a modified karaoke machine. The songs played on the machine are written by us, and instrumental arrangements accompany spoken text “karaoke” sections, which are segments of self-help seminars, political speeches, interviews and video manifestos from cult leaders. All music and spoken text is fed to our ears via an in-ear monitor system while the accompanying video, if any, plays on a screen behind us, with karaoke-style titles.
The purpose of this work is to explore and embody the claims made in the 1970s by researcher Max Toth, author of Pyramid Power: The Secret Energy Of The Ancients Revealed, who claimed, despite the insistence of leading Egyptian scholars and archaeologists, that all interpretations of ancient Egyptian cultural practices are pure conjecture and that “there is no record of anyone who visited ancient Egypt having actually experienced or even watched the religious practices they described.” Via this logic, the ROKE imagines that if a future civilization that has found our society’s most-published works as preserved in our thrift stores and media vaults, one would imagine that our daily practices involved watching a Tony Robbins liturgy, followed by a reading from a Time-Life series about Bill Clinton.